Polls in five states announced, no decision on Jammu and Kashmir (Lead)

October 14th, 2008 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Election Commission Tuesday announced elections from Nov 14 in the five states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Mizoram but deferred a decision on Jammu and Kashmir as it was still assessing the security situation.According to the election schedule, polls will be held in two phases in Chhattisgarh on Nov 14 and 20; Madhya Pradesh will go to the polls on Nov 25; elections in Delhi and Mizoram will be held on Nov 29, while in Rajasthan the exercise will be held on Dec 4.

The counting in all states will be held Dec 8.

The model code of conduct comes into effect in these states immediately, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami said at a press conference.

The two-phase election in Chhattisgarh is because part of the state is affected by Maoist violence and it was necessary to reorganise and position security forces, Gopalaswami said.

Addressing reporters after announcing the election dates, he said no decision had been taken on holding polls in Jammu and Kashmir despite holding meetings with political parties in the state and the home ministry.

“We are still assessing the situation. Positioning security forces is part of the problem but there are other factors and we will get back as soon as we decide,” said Gopalaswami.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under governor’s rule since July 11, when the former Congress-led coalition government was toppled and the assembly dissolved after coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party withdrew its support to then chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

When asked if elections would be held before winter, Gopalaswami said: “Leave those details to us.”

Sources in the poll panel said there was a difference of opinion among the two election commissioners, Navin Chawla and S.Y. Qureshi, and Gopalaswami on the poll preparedness of the state.

The model code of conduct for all political parties and state governments comes into immediate effect. In this round of assembly polls, all political meetings will be videographed, said the CEC.

A total of 650 observers will be deployed by the Election Commission in the five states during the period of electioneering and voting.

The assembly elections in the five states would be a dress rehearsal before the Lok Sabha elections due early next year.

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